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Dear friends, adopters, supporters, correspondents and readers,

I am retiring from rescue with immediate effect. My workload has become crushing, as my own animals have aged and developed health and behaviour problems. I must withdraw from active rescue or face the likelihood of total burnout. As it is, my animals are emotionally neglected, and even their physical needs are not always met as well as they should be, simply because I cannot keep up with all that needs doing. Quite a few cats I have rescued over the years have turned out to be unadoptable, and the Lemon Grove actually contains many more animals than featured on the website, but time has not allowed me to update this section.

This means that I have had to take these animals into my own home and cope with all their behaviour problems (aggression towards others, soiling, fear of humans). This has had a deleterious effect on my life and that of my pets, and I am not sure it has been beneficial to the rescues themselves. I experience perpetual anxiety, as my work is never done: if the bedroom is clean (two hours of hard labour), the guestroom is not; if the kitchen is clean (two dogs, copious mud and hair), the dogs have not been walked; if the laundry has been done (mountains each week), the website has been neglected, and so it goes. If I allow myself a movie or a meal with friends, my enjoyment is undermined by the knowledge of the mess that will greet me upon my return home. Holidays are but a dim memory, and travel is impossible. My once beautiful garden is a wasteland.

The workload has gradually crept up on me over time, and had I known fifteen years ago that being a cat lady was going to lead to my enslavement to mop and broom and can opener, I would have run screaming for the hills. Of course I love my beasts (except for Oliver, a hirsute dolt who shits on the furniture, and Sesame, a hairy dullard who resents even the slightest attempt to pet her and who soils the water bowls in her room by dunking her litter-besmirched paws in them - these and others of their ilk I simply tolerate), but love is not enough.

Thanks to years of shlepping bags of litter into and out of the house (300 pounds of Saular per week at one ghastly point), vacuuming like one possessed, sweeping compulsively, mopping frenetically, washing countless food bowls, carrying tottering plies of laundry up and down the stairs, hauling super sized bags of food and generally doing my own impersonation of Wonder Woman, I have developed deltoids and a time-and-motion efficiency that would come in handy if I were a stevedore, but enough is enough. I will be 53 next January, and I want my life back.

Attrition will winnow down my numbers, and less time devoted to the website will allow me to lavish attention on my own animals once again, as they deserve. I may even be able to control my temper when I find yet another blob of poop on a bed, or when one of the cats decides to hoik up a hairball into a newly replenished water bowl. Yes, of such lowly things are my days made up, and an unglamourous existence it is, to be sure. But it is not glamour I yearn for, rest assured (one look in the mirror would put paid to any such aspirations anyway).

What I pine for is the life I had before I lost the ability to say "No" and became a full time rescuer: a time when my animals were a pleasure rather than a chore, when I took exemplary care of them and was still able to see friends and family, read a book without guilt, and travel beyond the vet clinic and the pet supply store. These days, woe betide anyone who asks "How are you?", as the litany of complaints that spills from my lips is both grim and boring. I think I have paid my dues to the animal world for now, and atoned for all the sins I may have committed in my life so far.

It has been an interesting job (mission, vocation, whatever term you think right) and I have the satisfaction of knowing that I have placed quite a few cats (and the odd dog) into good homes, and helped a quite a few people who had to part with their animals through force of circumstance. I am grateful to all my adopters and to all who took the time to write and express their support for my work. I am just one of many rescuers working in Montreal and all over the country, and when people ask who will take over from me, I can only say "nobody and anybody". "Rescuer" is not a reserved title, and I am not handing it over to anyone. All you cat lovers can become rescuers, as there will always be an inexhaustible supply of neglected and unwanted animals in this benighted city.Forgive me for sounding jaundiced, but I do not believe my work has made the slightest dent in the abandonment and overpopulation problem; however, that is a diatribe I should keep for another day and another part of the website.

For now, may I say that I intend to reorganize the website so as to fill it with useful information, which will save me from having to answer so many individual email requests for information or help. The courtesy listings will be maintained for a while, but eventually I want to cancel that section as well.

Thank you, and good night!

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